The cycling world is mourning the death of Olympic track cyclist Olivia Podmore.
Podmore, who represented New Zealand at the 2016 Rio Olympics, died suddenly on Monday (August 9), sparking a huge outpouring of tributes to the 24-year-old.
News of Podmore’s death was confirmed on social media by national governing body Cycling New Zealand.
The organisation said: “We at Cycling New Zealand are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our young cyclist Olivia Podmore.
“Olivia was a much loved and respected rider in our Cycling New Zealand squad and the wider cycling community.
“Many people are understandably devastated and training so hard to comprehend what has happened.
“We have been and will continue to provide support to our staff and riders, the cycling community and those that were close to Olivia.”
Cycling New Zealand also shared contact details to Lifeline, a suicide prevention charity.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee also shared a tribute to Podmore, saying “she was a valued team member and her loss will be felt across the New Zealand sporting community.”
Podmore, born in Christchurch, New Zealand, had been a medallist in the Junior Track World Championships and competed in the Rio Olympics as a sprinter.
She finished 23rd in the women’s sprint in Brazil, ninth in the team sprint and 25th in the Keirin.
In 2017 she became the New Zealand Keirin champion and competed for her country in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
She had also reached the qualification criteria for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics but was not selected by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
Podmore’s New Zealand team-mate and double Olympian Natasha Hansen said in a Facebook post: “We have been through many ups and downs together and shared in so many highs and lows.
“The last couple of years have been so great to reconnect on a deeper level but I am devastated that this has come to such a sudden end. I cannot fathom the pain your family and closest friends must be feeling right now, but I hope they are comforted by the fact that you are loved by so many and have touched so many hearts. They are in all our thoughts and prayers. Your beauty will be forever remembered... Rest peacefully gorgeous girl.”
Most people who are thinking of taking their own life have shown warning signs beforehand.
These can include becoming depressed, showing sudden changes in behaviour, talking about wanting to die and feelings of hopelessness. These feelings do improve and can be treated.
If you are concerned about someone, or need help yourself, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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